Games – Theme building with expert roles

In this variation of 'Building under a theme', the children get to explore and experience what it means to build together with specialized roles.
The task

We are building under a shared theme and we each get an “expert role”. The purpose of the activity is to engage in social play in which we create space for negotiation and freedom of choice.

Games – Build under a Theme We create a motivating environment for the children. 



Suggestion for introduction

We create a motivating environment for the children. 

For instance, we can say: “Today, we practice building together, and we try to use what we have already learned to reflect on the activity together. Maybe we learn something new today, like how to come up with an idea together. We will build under a common theme e.g. a prison. We are going together but we each have a specialized role. A specialized role could be “the expert in building walls”, “the expert in charge of building the prison cells”, or “the expert building the entrance and exit”. We may choose to exchange roles while we are building or make up other roles. As long as we agree.”


The activity can be adapted to the framework of one lesson and varied according to the time available and the children’s prerequisites.


We can use small Lego sets, wooden blocks, plus-plus, magnetic tiles, paper, or something else – as long as the materials motivate us. If we feel like it, we can also mix the materials.

During the activity

During the play session, the children encounter challenges and successes, where we can stop and help spot what is difficult or what is going well. We can do this in several ways:

Reflection routines 

When we get the opportunity to reflect together with the children on what challenges or discoveries arise along the way, we can use one or more reflection routines. It could be, for example, a learning metaphor with a social strategy that we practice, an emoji that describes the feeling we have right now, or a rating of how well we think the building is going. In this way, a reflection routine can help to show and put into words the experiences that the children have during the play session.

Facilitating questions

We can ask facilitating questions to the children along the way, as they naturally arise in the building process. In this way, we facilitate the play session so that we continue the play and at the same time learn something from it. For example: 

  • I see that you have stopped building. I wonder how we can continue from here? 
  • I see that you have encountered a challenge. Should we try to solve it together? 
  • Try to notice what you are doing right now. Do you think this is a collaborative strategy? 
Show and Tell

Finally, in the play session, we give a Show and Tell of our construction, so that we have the opportunity to share our experiences, reflections, and feelings about the construction process.

First, we talk about our model and the process of building it. During the Show and Tell, we can use reflection routines and reflective questions to support the discoveries that have been made. For example:

  • What went well? 
  • What was difficult?
  • Is there anything that you want to do differently the next time we are building together?
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